Pat Hightower is the vice president of business development at the Hightower Agency. Hightower has over 25 years of experience in the business sector, with a strong background in sales management and has served as a member of the board of directors for the Hightower Agency for 19 years.
The Hightower Agency was established in 1990 as a full-service advertising agency specializing in truck driver recruiting. Headquartered in Madison, Mississippi, with offices in Garrison, Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri, Hightower has been twice recognized as a "Fast 40" company by the Mississippi Business Journal. Learn more about their recruitment advertising services at www.hightoweragency.com.
Overcoming the truck driver shortage is no easy challenge, and it's important to understand where your audience is so your company can find and hire qualified truck drivers. While the reality is that digital advertising is escalating more and more each day, print isn't dead. There are pros and cons to digital and print recruitment advertising, and you may want to know about them.
To fill your trucks, you need recruit drivers. And to recruit truck drivers, you need to advertise. But how do you know how to best spend your advertising budget and where? Building a driver recruitment strategy takes research, time, and testing, but it's helpful to know a little bit about digital and print advertising as you think about your target audience and recruiting campaigns.
Trusted credibility. Print tends to provide stronger, immediate validity. Seeing something in print adds to the credibility of your content; people like the idea of published work and tend to trust it more than online media. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center says, "Despite widespread talk of a shift to digital, most newspaper readership continues to be in print."
Easy to purchase. Buying on impulse - we all do it. Many people continue to enjoy picking up a magazine while they're out and about. It's a low commitment purchase where you don't have to send your credit card info across the Internet. Not to mention it's yours to keep forever (or maybe you're a friendly person and want to lend or give it to someone else.)
Tactile experience. Would you have a Kindle as your coffee table book? Nope, because people enjoy something physical to flip through. Print offers that sensory experience you can't get by looking at a screen. There's something nice about holding a glossy sheet of paper knowing that you can write on it (don't do this to your friend's coffee table book.) Studies also show that we retain knowledge better through a tangible interaction.
Lack of interactive content. Sorry, print -- you can't provide the interactive content readers may be looking for. Instant photos, videos, and features that our society is so used to today isn't an option here. Visuals and sounds are compelling human senses, and unfortunately readers will never find a YouTube video while flipping through the paper.
Limited feedback. After you publish an article in a magazine, you never really know what your readers think about it. Sure, some people can find a way to write you to send their comments, but it's not likely because of the time and effort. If your print ads have a trackable QR code, that certainly helps... but it doesn't offer the level of analytics that digital platforms do (such as Google Analytics).
Slow to stay ahead. One of the main cons of print is that it can't keep up. Online publications went from a 24-hour news cycle to a 24-second news cycle. The ability to publish a piece of content in a matter of minutes, along with the rise of social media, makes it almost impossible for print media to stay ahead of the game.
Real-time communication. The distribution of digital media is endless and powerful, and allows us to open the floor for discussion in no time. Want to ask drivers their opinion about a certain topic? Post your question to Facebook and see a conversation begin. (Be sure to watch for negative comments though!)
Enhanced content. A small sidebar job posting in a printed publication can't be enhanced, but mobile devices provide this helpful feature. The opportunity to enhance content on an iPad and view larger graphics creates a value-added experience. Potential drivers are "in the driver's seat."
Flexibility to serve multiple ads. Digital advertising allows you to create multiple ads in one space (like PPC or retargeting on Facebook). Or, create one focused campaign across multiple channels. Once your goal is determined, you can be flexible in where and how long to run your digital ad campaigns.
Social sharing. Avid social media users love the fact that they can interact with the content they consume. It's all about the sharing, liking, and retweeting. When your company has an active social media presence and posts relevant, interesting content, it could mean the chance to go viral.
In-depth analytics. A clear benefit of the digital side is the available tracking, and using those advanced metrics to optimize your overall strategy. Understanding analytics like what web pages are getting the highest traffic and how long visitors are staying on which pages allow you to better manage your resources and recruiting efforts.
More distractions. Maneuvering digital media isn't as clear and focused as print media. As people surf the web, they're bouncing all over the place. They can come across your driver job posting, but then see something else on the page and forgot all about you. Adults have short attention spans, and the Internet isn't exactly helping the situation.
Online plagiarism. Driver recruiters, marketers, and graphic designers need to take extra steps to protect their digital content. Once you publish something online, you're open to the risk of others reproducing, altering or downright stealing your work.
Optimization costs. Depending on your campaigns, the cost of digital advertising can easily add up. Higher involvement projects that optimize the user experience can become costly, especially as the competition gets tougher. These costs can lead to a much higher payoff, but it's crucial to have the expertise and latest tools for testing so you don't risk blowing your budget.
Time to Say Goodbye...
Remember: no fleet should be categorized the exact same. While one company may be looking for recent CDL graduates from certain areas in the West, another could be seeking only experienced truck drivers from the East. These two groups have different personas, so that's why it's important to determine goals and target audiences to implement into your print and digital recruitment advertising plans.